😀 Selfies compatible 😀 to facial recognition 😀 system have been fed 😀 to an online portrait 😀 morphing software, resulting 😀 in the composite image 😀 the project calls "the average face of a Marcos apologist." 😀 Mac Andre Arboleda selects data and 😀 puts them together in a singular space😀 , allowing the viewer😀 to pay closer 😀 attention to what would otherwise have been 😀 internet debris, and the smartphone 😀 self-portraits that have become the 😀 symbol of millennial narcissism and construction of personas on social media😀 are transformed into artifacts of a moment 😀 in internet history: Publicity Asia’s 2016 😀 Twitter contest #WinADateWithSandro 😀 that promised 12 best selfie 😀 submissions a date with the grandson 😀of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
😀 The artist’s ‘curation’ through found images is an 😀 insistence on memorializing what is absent here 😀, the unmemorialized. We are asked to suffer the pouting 😀 faces and casual poses and mull over 😀 their number and namelessness. The deluge of 😀 these ephemeral but persistent selfies 😀 instigated by a campaign 😀 to erase Marcos atrocities from public 😀 memory underscore the irony 😀 in view of the over 1600 individuals 😀 that were disappeared during the Marcos 😀 regime: the immediate face, an unwitting 😀 trace of the vanished one.
First released 😀 as a black-and-white zine, the images 😀 that comprise this project 😀 traverse from digital self-portraiture 😀 to social media to print, 😀 and finally to an exhibition setting 😀, accumulating several contexts over being 😀 mere selfies as proof of adolescent desire—snapshots 😀 of oneself by oneself documenting current 😀 personal affairs but also intending 😀 to build up ideal selves in social networks 😀, originally shared as nothing more 😀 than oblivious confessions of a crush 😀. The pictures reveal much of how the owners of the 😀 selfies perceive themselves and wish 😀 themselves to be perceived, while also 😀 obscuring the nature of this desire, how it has 😀 taken root in them because and in 😀 spite of their milieus, and in the 😀 midst of the current push for historical 😀 fact-checking.
See the colegiala, the middle-aged woman 😀 , the gay boy, the high schooler in her 😀 uniform; see the bed selfie, the 😀 selfie in extreme close-up, the selfie in 😀 black and white, or the one with a virtual 😀 flower crown or with a superimposed quote. These faces 😀 in no way accurately represent any one social group 😀, nor do they accurately sample the Philippine society at 😀 present. Instead, Arboleda’s project uncovers the convenient 😀 mask of immateriality to reveal a diverse demographic 😀 of those who continue to excuse the Marcos 😀 atrocities, suggesting that what is average 😀 in "the average face of a Marcos apologist" is not always physical or 😀 easily social, and that anyone is not fully exempt from the 😀 various tendencies to be complicit to the machinery 😀 of Marcos ‘revisionism’, regardless of degree and regardless 😀 how virtual or oblique the relationship, or how 😀 removed the love object is in terms of lineage or direct 😀 culpability, and regardless of all our imperfections, 😀 contradictions, and ‘innocent' longings.
The Face of a 😀 Marcos Apologist transforms these presences 😀 , perhaps knowable only in the cloud of online anonymity 😀 and comment section cacophony, into separate identities 😀 as they are encountered, experienced, and processed virtually. 😀 The artist presents us with the ‘average face’ of a Marcos apologist 😀 as proof of the intricacies of digital media’s intervention 😀 in personal desires and the construction of histories, 😀 making visible the faces of our material 😀 and virtual narratives so we see beyond faces 😀. —Shaunnah Ysabel Cledera
🌐 CPU: "The SIM Card Registration Bill 🌐 envisions to deter cybercrime and internet trolls 🌐 by requiring everyone with Philippine SIM 🌐 cards to register their full name, date of birth 🌐, and address on a centralized server, and use their real name 🌐 and phone number on social media. However, the bill's 🌐 provisions offer no real solution to these 🌐 problems and only limit our right to privacy 🌐 and expose us to risk by consolidating personally 🌐 identifiable information on a centralized server 🌐. In addition, it robs us of the additional 🌐 security that anonymity gives us, especially 🌐 for celebrities, public figures, influencers, activists, human rights defenders 🌐, victims of domestic abuse and violence against 🌐 women and children, and even individuals who simply wish to 🌐 compartmentalize their personal lives 🌐 from the rest of their activities." 🌐